The great ones all start somewhere.
For Tom Brady, it was Thanksgiving Day, 20 NFL seasons ago.
George W. Bush had just defeated Al Gore in a razor thin election. Everyone was watching Friends and/or E.R. on television. Destiny’s Child topped the charts.
Near the end of a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome, New England Patriots coach Bill Belechick put his sixth round draft pick into the game in relief of Drew Bledsoe. The youngster from Michigan threw three passes, completing one for six yards.
It was a footnote in some newspapers the next day. Most didn’t mention it. A lot of fans who were at the game didn’t hold onto their ticket stubs. Most unused copies were simply tossed in the trash.
Brady had been the fourth string quarterback when the season began and although he’d moved up to number 2 on the depth chart, the Patriots were still Bledsoe’s team—and would be until the following season when an injury forced him out of the lineup and Brady turned him into Wally Pipp.
Humble a beginning as it was, it was the day the career of the greatest quarterback in NFL history began. Now, one of the best surviving full tickets from a game most of the country had turned off to devote their full attention to turkey and trimmings is on auction block—and it’s signed and inscribed by the future Hall of Famer.
Auction of Champions is offering the PSA encapsulated full game ticket in its current auction. The current high bid is over $15,000 but it carries a reserve that hasn’t yet been met.
The ticket has been graded EX/MT 6 with the autograph rated a perfect 10. Brady has added “NFL Debut” to his signature. It’s one of only seven Brady signed full tickets to his first appearance in a a regular season NFL game. Two others–both with Authentic grades–are for sale on eBay for $25,000-$30,000. An unsigned full ticket with a PSA 7 grade sold for over $11,000 last year.
Brady’s first career pass completion, by the way, went to tight end Rod Rutledge who has been out of football for 18 years. He has since completed 8,542 passes in an NFL uniform.
Bidding runs through February 15.